August 7, 2020
This week a fundamental department of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio announced its new name. This rebranding does not change the department’s purpose or mission, rather, as the announcement eloquently expressed, the name change provides a validation of how things were already being done and now provides clarity of who is doing this important work. Here is the introductory paragraph of an email shared with the Federation and committee lay leadership:
It says in Proverbs, “A good name is more desirable than great riches, a good reputation than silver and gold.” At the Community Relations Council (CRC), we envision a more just society by enhancing the strength of our local Jewish community through collaboration with other communities. First and foremost, this means representing Jewish values as we interact with public officials and interfaith leaders outside our Jewish community. While “Jewish” has always been the forefront of what the CRC represents, it has not been at the forefront of our name. Therefore, we officially want to put the “J” into our name, first and foremost, and rebrand ourselves as the “JCRC.”
We want to thank Winslow Swart, JCRC Chair, and department director, Dr. Lisa Epstein, for authoring the message and facilitating this important change, and to all the JCRC committee members and volunteers for all the essential work you do to ensure that the Jewish community continues to build bridges with our broader community through outreach and political advocacy. Your work vigorously address acts of hatred and violence against San Antonio Jews (yes, unfortunately, this still occurs all too frequently) and supports Israel’s right to exist and its citizens’ rights to live in peace and pursue prosperity.
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The Jewish Federation of San Antonio has established itself over the last 98 years as a pillar of the San Antonio community specifically because we have committed to educating our neighbors about who we are, what we believe in, and why we are dedicated to making the world a better place. In fact, it is in this week’s Torah portion, Eikev, where we read of our obligation to “Love the stranger, for [we] were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deut. 10:19)
The San Antonio Jewish community is approximately 9,200 Jews strong in a community of over 1.5M residents. Our impact, involvement, participation, support, and dedication are well beyond our disproportionate half of 1% of the population. And although we demonstrate every day our love for the stranger, we must equally make sure that we are not strangers to one another. As one of the Jewish Federation’s goals this coming year, we want to reach out to every member of our Jewish community and say hello. We want to say thank you for sustaining our Jewish community, and we want to let everyone know that we are:
Here for you.
Here for our community.
Here for our future.
If you know someone who may not be a member of a local synagogue, or who may not be affiliated with one of our Jewish agencies, the JCC, JFS, SAJSS to name a few, or who could simply use a friend during these incredibly isolating times, please let us know and we will be happy to make sure that someone reaches out. This might be a young student here in San Antonio for the academic year, a new young Jewish family in town, or it might be a community elder with no local family – no matter who, the Jewish Federation is here to bring us together!